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Undergraduate research opportunities in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) in low- and middle-income countries

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The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the world’s leading research and learning institutions for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH). We conduct qualitative and quantitative research across the entire WaSH sector and play a major role in advancing evidence-based policies and practices in national, regional, and international fora. Our mission is to strengthen global WaSH through research, policy, and practice. Our core focus is producing policy and practice-oriented science. We target our research to address the needs of vulnerable and marginalized populations to ensure that people have sustainable access to WaSH to meet their health, economic, social, and environmental needs.

The Water Institute has several openings for undergraduate students to participate in research related to WaSH in low- and middle-income countries. The Water Institute is working to address these challenges through research that: identifies problems, develops solutions, demonstrates that solutions can work in the real world, and scaling up action.

Current opportunities

Students who complete research through the Water Institute will receive hands-on training and mentoring from our core faculty and staff. Students will have opportunities to network with WaSH professionals; apply quantitative, qualitative, and project management skills; collect and/or analyze data; and learn about programmatic approaches used by major non-governmental and multilateral organizations (e.g., WHO, UNICEF). Opportunities are available for the following topics:

Reviewing and analyzing water system data to understand occurrence of toxic metals in drinking water in low- and middle-income countries

Analyzing school, healthcare facility, household, and water system data to understand enablers and barriers to WaSH service delivery in LMICs

Reviewing the effectiveness and evidence of impact for WaSH in healthcare facility interventions and programmatic approaches

Documenting knowledge management systems and diffusion of learning within the WaSH sector

Evaluating WaSH infrastructure sustainability and operations and maintenance

We are particularly interested in students with the following skills:

Statistical analysis / epidemiology

Environmental modeling

Qualitative interviewing and analysis

Systematic literature review

Technical writing and policy analysis

Interested students should complete the Qualtrics form at When prompted for the keyword for this posting, please enter the keyword “general interest.”

Faculty Advisor
Ryan Cronk
Research Supervisor
Ryan Cronk / Darcy Anderson / The Water Institute at UNC
Faculty Email:
Type of Position
Application Deadline